News and Commentary

‘Time’s Up’ Releases New Hollywood Sex Scene Safety Guide
passionate couple is having sex on bed - stock photo
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The organization that sprung up during the height of the #MeToo movement to advocate for equality in the workplace (reality: women’s dominance). Now the Time’s Up Foundation has released several guides for Hollywood actors who need to be told that having sex with someone for a role isn’t a good idea.

Last week, Time’s Up released a three-part guide that covers entertainers’ rights in auditions, nude and intimate scenes, and how to report sexual misconduct. Let’s take a look at each guide:


“If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If it seems like a red flag, it probably is. It’s okay to say “no”, to speak up, and to leave situations that make you uncomfortable. No role, job, or relationship is worth compromising your physical or emotional safety,” the guide says.

The guide does provide some helpful information, referring to the “casting couch” and explains what rights an entertainer has under the law:

In general, employees (including actors participating in casting meetings and auditions) are protected from sexual harassment and discrimination under federal and state employment laws. However, these laws do not apply in all employment contexts. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion, only applies to businesses with more than 15 employees and does not apply to independent contractors. Yet certain states provide more robust protections, including California and New York.

The guide also explains collective-bargaining rights for members of SAG-AFTRA.

The guide then explains a number of scenarios that should make someone rethink the audition, such as if the audition is held in a location that makes the entertainer uncomfortable, like a private hotel room or someone’s house. The guide suggests taking a “support peer” to any auditions in hotels or homes and to suggest a neutral location instead.

This guide warns that if an entertainer is asked to “come back sexier,” it might be problematic, even if it relates to the role. If asked to do a “chemistry read” to judge the on-screen chemistry between two potential actors, the guide suggests having an honest conversation with yourself and communicating your boundaries in writing.

In the frequently asked questions section, the guide explains that even if someone agreed to perform sexual acts to get a job, it is still harassment, though it is slightly confusing because it also says that if “the sexual acts were something you wanted to do, it probably isn’t harassment.”

Nude and Intimate Scenes

This guide again suggests communicating boundaries with those with one’s agent. The guide suggests including a “nudity rider” in one’s contract to clearly define those boundaries. This rider would include:

‣ a detailed description of the scene(s);

‣ the type of nudity or physical contact required;

‣ limitations on use of the footage and production stills (if any); and

‣ any other conditions that you and a producer have agreed upon.

The guide also suggests requesting a “mutually-approved intimacy coordinator” for all intimate scenes, having a conversation with the director and producer about the scenes, requesting a “closed set” during filming, and fully rehearsing the scene beforehand and verbally consenting to all physical contact.

The guide also notes that entertainers can request that filming and stills are only reviewed by key production members, that they won’t be used in advertising, and that all outtakes are destroyed.


This guide explains exactly what to do if you think you’ve been harassed. Of course, we’ve seen what happens when someone thinks they’ve been abused (but haven’t) or just want to get back at someone for attention or some other benefit. The guide predictably doesn’t place realistic expectations on anyone who decides they have been harassed.

The guide provides a list of ways to report, and includes the advantages (putting on notice, helping others, quick action) and disadvantages (unsympathetic response, lack of control over investigations, different perspective) to reporting to one’s employer.